Editor’s Note: much reader attention to this article, and a lengthy comment How to Measure Attention via MediaPost (source: Jonah Goodhart, CEO, Moat)

Advertising is just storytelling. String together some images and words to prod people to buy products. While the industry can effectively develop messages for TV and traditional media, it is trying to figure out how to tell better stories in digital.

Nearly all people (99%) who see online ads don’t click on them. 92% of U.S. retail spend happens in the physical world. There is virtually no relationship that exists between clicks and actual sales.

Still, it remains to be seen if digital metrics can translate as easily as tracking success at physical stores. For instance, you can monitor how many people walk buy the store versus going inside; how much time is spent; active versus passive shoppers, etc. “With those signals I could begin to understand attention,” said Goodhart. “The same theory is true in digital,” he said. We begin by tracking signals. How much time spent on a page; scroll down; page signals; ad signals; flip to another tab. “The right denominator for a marketer is attention.”

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Marketers Overwhelmingly Call for Third-Party Measurement of All Digital Media Owners’ Inventory

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) surveyed its members to understand the perspectives of marketers on the issue of the viewability verification procedures used by digital media owners.  The results of the survey emphasized the need for third-party verification.

Among the findings:

-97 percent of ANA respondents believe that all digital media owners’ inventory should be measured by a third party.

-90 percent of respondents said they are not fully confident that their digital working media meets industry viewability standards.

-61 percent of respondents indicated they would shift their spending elsewhere if digital media owners did not provide independent measurement.

-Nearly two-thirds of respondents feel “very strongly” that a digital media owner should have internally derived metrics accredited by the MRC.

According to this press release, some large media owners do not allow third-party measurement vendors to report viewable ad impressions to their clients. Instead, they utilize internally derived metrics that have not been independently verified.  Currently, more than 20 firms are accredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to measure digital advertising viewability.

Bob Liodice, ANA President and CEO, commented on this issue, “During a time of intense scrutiny on transparency and accountability, it’s vitally important that all digital media owners measure viewability by an independent third party, consistent with industry standards. That’s just ‘table stakes’ for digital advertising.”

The ANA will continue working with the Media Rating Council and other industry trade associations to elevate the importance of this issue and drive industry standards.

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MRC Scraps Fully Loaded Requirement For Mobile Ads, Issues Updates On Viewability

Joe Mandese discusses the updates issued by the Media Rating Council to its guidelines for mobile viewable impressions in this Media Post article.  These updates include a requirement for an ad fully “loaded” to be counted for measurement.

The MRC’s three significant updates:

-Elimination of the “Loaded Ad” concept. Since measurers can now successfully measure viewable impressions in mobile within the in-application environment,

the MRC has concluded that the “Loaded Ad” metric is no longer necessary.

-Additional evidence has been found that “Count on Decision” approaches for served ad impression measurement should be eliminated as a valid method for counting served impressions.  Therefore, as previously announced, the MRC will work with the IAB to eliminate Count on Decision as an acceptable method for counting served ad impressions in the near-term future.

-Cross-industry collaboration has been strengthened with a large working group of interested parties and organizations to obtain data in order to answer questions surrounding viewability requirements applied to mobile environments.

The MRC expects to release final guidelines for public comment in the first quarter of 2016.

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Programmatic rises, ad viewability falls

Adform, a Danish digital advertising insights firm, reported that ad space bought via programmatic trading increased 76% year-on-year to April 2015, driven to a large extent by a 333% rise in spend on branding ad formats. However, despite brand advertisers paying more attention to programmatic, ad viewability across Europe declined 0.7% to 55% over the past year.

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Viewability Rises Slightly, Along With Brand Risk

Integral Ad Science reports that viewability rates for display ads bought and sold on networks and exchanges increased slightly to 42.6% in the fourth quarter, from 36.7% in the previous quarter. Mediapost, which highlighted the study, noted that viewability rates for video were at 39%, compared to 30% in the previous quarter. Read more »

56% of Digital Ads Served Are Never Seen

Research released by Google and highlighted in Ad Age suggests that over half (56.1%) of internet ads are not seen by humans. Publishers’ viewability rates are on average at 50.2%. Other findings in the report: Read more »